Court appearance leaves Raith striker with mixed feelings

Jonny Court celebrates his first goal for Raith Rovers. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Jonny Court celebrates his first goal for Raith Rovers. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

After scoring on his full debut, earning a win bonus and collecting the man of the match award, Jonny Court should have been elated at full-time on Saturday.

However, the Raith Rovers’ striker was left with mixed feelings after the Kirkcaldy club were sent tumbling into the relegation play-offs.

Raith overcame a first minute red card to goalkeeper Pavol Penksa to claim a 2-1 victory over Ayr United at Stark’s Park, with Court notching the opener on his first ever start.

However, results elsewhere meant that the efforts of the 10 men were in vain and they will now need to negotiate two play-off ties to retain their Championship status.

“On a personal level, I’m happy but, for the club, I’m devastated,” Court explained.

“The play-offs aren’t where we want to be, but we just need to pick ourselves up and go again.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves.

“We know we can do it. If we play like we did on Saturday we can beat anyone.

“Obviously, we shot ourselves in the foot going down to 10 men early.

“But what an effort to go on and win the game. I was forgetting we were playing with 10 men!

“I was running about wondering why I was having to do so much running.

“I’ve never put in a shift like that in my life, I was blowing after 20 minutes.

“But I managed to last the 90 minutes, thankfully.

“I couldn’t do any more.”

Raith had to win and hope that St Mirren lost at Hibs, but the 1-1 draw at Easter Road meant the Paisley side survived on goal difference, along with Dumbarton, as all three sides finished on 39 points.

“We took care of what we needed to do,” Court added. “But we’re just gutted that Hibs never got a result for us.

“We could hear the fans when Hibs went 1-0 up and then the Ayr fans when St Mirren equalised.

“We knew it wasn’t all in our hands but we were just praying that Hibs could have done us a favour.

“It wasn’t to be.”

Raith now face Brechin City in the semi-final of the play-offs with the first leg at Glebe Park on Wednesday night ahead of the second leg at Stark’s Park on Saturday.

“Brechin will be a tough game, there’s no doubt about it,” Court added.

“We just have to play like we did on Saturday, with everyone giving everything and bursting themselves for the team. If we do that we’ll do all right.

“I’ve been out on loan in League Two, at East Stirling and at Montrose.

“I know a few boys who were here who are now at Brechin, boys like Dougie Hill, Elliot Ford, people like that.

“So we know they’re decent players. They’re not to be taken lightly, and we won’t.”

Court was given his chance in the starting 11 after coming on as a sub in recent defeats to Hibs and St Mirren.

After the 5-0 loss in Paisley the previous week, Court revealed that boss John Hughes lived up to his promise to let kit-man Simon Pollock do the team talk.

He added: “Simon, the kitman, is a big Raith man, so he didn’t need to say much.

“He just said ‘do it for us, do it for the club, do it for the fans, do it for him’.

“We did it, we won the game, but it just wasn’t enough.”